Tuesday, March 28, 2017


One of the big projects for the weekend was to get the flowerbeds in front of the garden finally finished.  These are the flowerbeds that I set up and put cardboard down last year but...

...this is what they looked like after not being able to get to them before Winter set in.  The fruit trees took up time and then the garden and, well, they fell into a state of disrepair, as you can see above.

It took a good hour per bed but I got the soil all turned, the timbers back in place, the steel rebar put in to lock them in place, loaded them up with fresh soil, leveled it all out and they were ready...

...for flowers! 
For now, I planted marigolds, Mexican heather, pincushion flowers, and salvia.  

I had to do the same thing on the other side of the gate, here it is after getting the timbers all fixed and the soil added.  I planted the same flowers in this one.

I put the marigolds next to the gate entrance so we'll see happy colors right there.  Plus they can be rotated in and out with other annuals more easily.

We're going to have a knockout rose in the middle of each bed too.  You can see it in the photo above.  I didn't plant them this weekend because I need a bit more soil to put around them after I dig the holes (they are larger than the smaller flowers we bought).  We didn't locate them at either end of the flowerbeds because I don't want thorns by the gate as I go in and out, and at the other end I will pass by on the mower and don't need them there either.  So we figured one in the middle of each would be pretty.

You can see how much space we have with the two beds.  I'm going to fill in some empty spots with lemongrass and rosemary, so that we'll have a bit more herbs at our disposal.

Corner flowerbed
And as a bonus, I also fixed up this bed again.  You may remember when we fixed it up last year.  Alas, the freeze killed everything in there except a little piece of the lavender, which is coming back now (YAY!) and of course the large Texas Lilac (Vitex) next to the stairs.  So I pulled timbers out, stacked them back together, straightened up the birdbath (still need to bleach the inside), pruned the Vitex, and then planted some marigolds around the perimeter.  

We also decided to stick in a couple of mint plants.  Spearmint and Peppermint.  Yes, we know they are invasive, but we're OK with this bed being taken over by mint.  It will look pretty and lush, we'll still have the pops of color with the marigolds and as a nice bonus, fresh mint right by the stairs to the porch.

I also worked in the garden, more on that tomorrow!

TUESDAY MORNING UPDATE:  Our building had sporadic internet last night so I was unable to finish the post on the garden.  I got the pictures loaded but then we only had intermittent connections.  So I guess that update is coming Wednesday!

Thanks for the comments and the birthday wishes.  Yep,  yesterday was my birthday but I seem to post about it every year, thought I'd take a year off of doing that, ha.  But thanks for the birthday wishes!

Check back tomorrow!

Sunday, March 26, 2017


It's been a good weekend so far.  Above are some beautiful wildflowers we snapped a picture of on the way to the farm.  'Tis the season in Texas!

Yesterday was odd, there as a manhunt in the area, and the day felt disjointed.  But I got a lot done in the garden and today I will be working on the flower beds in front of the garden so we can get some flowers in.  And if time, I want to work on some in front of the house.

Update later!

Saturday, March 25, 2017


Today is another day of playing in the dirt!

This picture looks funny because the beds don't "LOOK" done, but it was the only picture I had from this angle since I started planting last weekend, ha.  So the front two beds are done and the large one is almost done.  Next I have to plant the squash bed, some okra, and hope to get the cucumbers in if I can get the trellis set up (it's a red coated metal like the others but this will be the first time I've used it). 

We had rains overnight so I'm not sure how wet it will be out there.  I mowed last weekend (need to post pics of that) so I'm hoping it's an "off weekend" for having to mow.  

My other goal today is to start getting the flower beds ready  for some soil and flowers.  If I can get them ready this weekend, I can bring out soil and plants and seeds next weekend.  Got to get as much done before the rainy weekends start, which is usually April/May.  

Hope you have a great weekend!

Friday, March 24, 2017


Is this what they call a "mad cow"?

I snapped a pic of this cow last weekend at the farm.  I just thought it was so funny.  

Maybe she was having a bad day?  

Actually, she was very gentle and curious about me, despite this angry stance...but she did make me laugh out loud.

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Every Thursday we like to post a picture of something we've found online that inspires us to do something similar at the farm.  
Sort of our own blog bulletin board so that we can eventually look back and someday, hopefully anyway, recreate it...enjoy!

Last week on Inspiration Thursday, we posted a pretty color palette of purple and yellow.  Several of you identified them as azaleas which of course we should have noticed (they have azaleas all over Houston this time of year).  So we were "Googling" pictures of azaleas and found this.  

This is such an amazing blaze of color, in the woods no less.  Azaleas like a bit of shade, from what we've read, morning dappled sun and afternoon shade is good.  We have JUST the spot for something like this (I'm in the process of getting it cleared now).  Would be so pretty to see when they are in bloom.  We love the random nature of their placement here.  Anyone grown azaleas?  

Be inspired!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


I was able to work this weekend and get the initial finishing touches on them.  We are very happy with how they came out.

Backyard raised bed orchard
Here they are, freshly mowed and edged around.  Don't they look neat and tidy?  The mowing was so easy, I planned it so that the mower fits easily between them all with just a couple of passes.  The best part is, since they are 12" tall, it turns out that is just the right height to keep out the grass clippings as I mow around them.  That's what I call a win win!

Fruit trees in raised beds
They also have their soil topped off.  I brought out eight more bags, 2 cu ft each, of raised bed soil, one bag for each bed.  

I put some slack in the twine as well but we are thinking of removing it completely next weekend.  We don't think it's needed,  With all the soil in place, the trees are pretty firm and not in danger of tipping over. 

We'd like to do some companion planting in them but from what I've read, it seems like we should let them spread their roots and develop that without competing for soil space right now.  Need to read up some more on that.

Mini raised bed orchard
Here is an angle I don't think I've posted before.  This is from the other side of the yard looking back toward where I stood to take the other two pictures at the top of this post.  We have eight fruit trees, 2 varieties each of apple, pear, peach and plum.  It's SUCH a relief now that it's all done to see them looking like we imagined they would when we planned it all out almost two years ago!

And now...we wait...

Monday, March 20, 2017


This weekend was a lot of things, updates on those in the coming days.
The big thing was to go ahead and get the garden started.  We're much earlier this year than last so hopefully that will help with a much better harvest.

I got all the stuff I needed, the cages, the straw, the irrigation supplies and of course the plants (there's that Rubbermaid cart, I LOVE that thing!).  I went to a local feed store and scored some of the veggie varieties that we wanted.

The beds were ready from a couple of weeks ago when I turned the soil and added to it so the first thing I did was plant the vegetable and herbs. Then I laid down the soaker hose and tested it.  It worked (phew).  I hooked it up to our timer so everything is being watered while we aren't there during the week.  

Of course, the rainy season is coming so for a period of time this Spring, I can turn that off.  Save the water!

Raised beds with tomato cages
Then I put the cages over the plants.  We also love our red cages, ha.  
The last thing to do was to put down the straw...

4x8 raised bed
I left space in this bed to make it easy to add some more next weekend (might plant seeds here for the root vegetables).  There are two Ichiban eggplants at one end and two TAM jalapeños at the other end...

Tomato bed
Two tomatoes here I this one.  These are two new varieties for us, chosen after research online (and from dear friends with experience).  They are the best for our area/climate, so we shall see!

4x4 raised bed
These are most of the herbs we'll use this season.  2nd Man makes a wonderful chicken with lemon thyme, and if the basil gets as big as the one last year, we'll have lots of basil for pesto and pasta sauces (that's why I put it in the middle).  Of course we use oregano and parsley and chives all the time and we have a rosemary bush on the porch in a container so that's it for herbs.

Because I combined the eggplant into the pepper bed (last minute change in plans), that has freed up a raised bed. 

Raised bed garden 
I still have to plant the squash bed (have the squash but just ran out of irrigation soaker hose).  We might forgo the Spring greens though, it's getting hot quicker than expected and greens might be too late so we'd go straight into planting two okra plants.

That will still leave us with one empty bed.  Hmm...might put up the red trellis and try some cucumbers?

Let the growing begin!

Saturday, March 18, 2017


It's a big weekend with THE most perfect weather we could ask for...and the list of things to do is long.

Mow for the first time this season.

Edge, also for the first time this season.

Add soil to fruit tree beds.

And get some veggies and herbs planted in the garden.

All that should make for a full weekend and I'm looking forward to every minute of it.

Hope your weekend is off to a great start!

Friday, March 17, 2017


"J" from 2nd Family sent us this picture.  She said she laughed because there was a third duck here but he moved before she could get a picture.  

So she snapped this one and sent it to us. 

She said she thought this was the best she could do to get all her ducks in a row...LOL!!!

...and that reminded me of this.  

Sometimes, this is so true...

Thursday, March 16, 2017


Every Thursday we like to post a picture of something we've found online that inspires us to do something similar at the farm.  
Sort of our own blog bulletin board so that we can eventually look back and someday, hopefully anyway, recreate it...enjoy!

Purple and yellow flower garden, image via Pinterest
Wee have no idea what these flowers are but the reason we saved this photo was because of the color combination.  So often colors are similar or there are reds and oranges and and blues and many other colors in a flower garden or planting area and that's pretty of course.  But only putting two colors together like the person did here is different and really nice.

Who knew purple and yellow and green look great together?

Oh wait!

This could be a Mardi Gras garden!

Be inspired!